|Garden scheduling madness||04.10.09 at 11:41 am ET|
It’s a good problem to have but it’s still a problem that needs solving.
How to schedule two teams and two Springsteen concerts all in one building over four days.
The Celtics are almost certain to play Saturday the 18th with Game 2 of the first round to be played on Monday, the 20th. The reason is as follows:
The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday, Apr. 18. The NHL playoffs for the Boston Bruins begin at home at the Garden on Thursday, the 16th since the Celtics finish up their regular season on Wednesday, the 15th against Washington. It should be pointed out, of course, that the Bruins and owner Jeremy Jacobs own TD Banknorth Garden.
If the Bruins play Montreal in the first round, it’s very likely that Hockey Night in Canada will want the Bruins-Habs on Saturday night and the Bruins would acquiesce to that request. If that scenario takes place, then you’re likely looking at a Celtics playoff opener at 12:30 on ESPN in the afternoon and a Bruins-Canadiens nightcap.
If the Bruins play the New York Rangers in the opening round, it’s more likely, the Bruins would play on Sunday afternoon on NBC and the Celtics could move to a Saturday night game on TNT.
In any event, the NBA wants to avoid having the Celtics or any team for that matter, play on back-to-back days if at all possible.
Bruce Springsteen takes over the building on April 21 and 22 and there’s no moving The Boss. Once again, a great time to be a Boston sports fan.
|Rondo… The new Pearl Washington||04.08.09 at 11:49 pm ET|
On Wednesday night during a 106-104 nail-biter over the New Jersey Nets at TD Banknorth Garden, Rondo scored a team high 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists.
It seemed from Marbury’s standpoint, every time Rondo drove to the basket, he scored.
“The guy had [31 ]points and I think he shot all layups,” Marbury said. “He reminds me of Pearl Washington from what they said, back in the days. A guy who didn’t really shoot the jump shots, but just continued to get to the basket and dominated.”
There are cases around the NBA when the point guard looks to score, their team is usually in trouble. Such is not the case with Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. As a matter of fact, it may be just the opposite.
For the third straight game, Rondo scored at least 20 points in leading his team to victory, their fifth straight overall.
‘I’m pretty comfortable,” Rondo said. “I’m probably as comfortable as I’ve ever been these last five or six games, just knowing when to take a shot or when to pass it.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Doc: DJ ‘absolutely’ deserves HOF||04.06.09 at 4:34 pm ET|
It came as a surprise to exactly no one that Michael Jordan was a first ballot inductee to the Basketball Hall of Fame in the voting announced Monday morning at the Final Four in Detroit. And names like John Stockton, Utah coach Jerry Sloan, David Robinson and women’s coach C. Vivian Stringer were hardly stunning either.
“I had a lot to do with that. I guarded Michael, I guarded Stockton, they looked a lot better. I can tell you that. Clearly, first ballot all of them. It’s terrific. Michael may be the greatest player, definitely of our generation, and maybe of all time. Stockton may be the greatest point guard in some arguments,” Rivers said.
But the late Dennis Johnson did not make it.
“That surprises me, I thought he would make it,” Rivers said. “Well, I’m disappointed in that part. I absolutely think he deserves it.”
And a look at the numbers Johnson put up over his 14-year career detail Rivers’ argument. He played in exactly 1,100 games, averaging 14.1 points and 5.0 assists. His numbers were even better in the playoffs. He averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 assists in 180 games, while playing on three NBA championship teams.
Everyone recalls how DJ was brought to Boston in the 1983-84 season, in part, to answer Philadelphia’s Andrew Toney and Maurice Cheeks, and give the Celtics a powerful backcourt influence and provide great defense on Magic Johnson. The Celtics won titles in 1984 and 1986.
But ask Rivers, and he will tell you voters forget what DJ did in Seattle, like leading his team to the 1979 NBA title, earning Finals MVP honors.
“I really believe this, they (voters) only look at him just with the Celtics,” Rivers said. “They forget how great he was with the Sonics. He was unbelievable. He came to the Celtics and they asked him to do what we ask Ray Allen to do, what we ask Paul (Pierce) to do and that is play a role and I actually think he’s being penalized for it.”
NBA.com has a complete bio of Dennis Johnson, who passed away on Feb. 22, 2007 in Austin, TX of a heart attack while coaching the Austin Toros of the NBDL.
|Rondo turns ankle, Garnett out this week||at 3:06 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo continues to battle ankle injuries. On Monday, in the team’s first practice since beating Atlanta on Friday night, Rondo was seen limping off the court after turning his ankle.
Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure of the severity or which ankle was turned but said he didn’t initially think it was a serious injury.
“He just twisted his ankle, nothing bad but instead of keeping him out on the floor, easier to take him off,” Rivers said.
Meanwhile, Rivers said Kevin Garnett is making progress in rehabbing his strained right knee but not enough for him to return this week.
“I’m just really happy with what we see,” Rivers said. “A week ago there was more concern. This week, less concern. He looks great, he’s moving great. You can just tell the difference.”
Rivers ruled Garnett out from games through next Sunday, meaning the star forward won’t be able to play in the team’s final three games as Rivers had hoped.
“He won’t play this week, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday,” Rivers said. “But he’s going to go on the road with us and start practicing. Actually, our hope is start practicing our entire team on this little road trip, which would be really nice since I haven’t seen them in a while, and I think it’s possible.”
Rivers also said Garnett will travel with the team on its road trip to Cleveland and Philadelphia, with the hope of having the entire team together practicing together. Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine could also return to action in practice.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 104, Hawks 92||04.03.09 at 11:47 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo spent the last five minutes of Friday morning’s shootaround in Waltham setting up behind the three-point line. He was making them at roughly a 50 percent rate.
Everyone knows that Rondo is the machine that drives the Celtics offense. He’s know trying to add an extra gear to the machine that produced 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting against the Hawks on Friday night in a 104-92 win at TD Banknorth Garden.
And as is often the case with the soft-spoken Rondo, it was his teammates doing the most talking about his great game on Friday.
‘When Rajon is aggressive, he’s scoring the ball and it opens up everything for all of us,” Paul Pierce said. “Night in and night out you know me and Ray are going to get out touches but when Rajon is out there getting 16 points, getting layups, knocking down jumpers it just opens up the floor for everybody as you can see, Perk getting lay-ups, Baby getting wide open shots, I’m getting good looks and our offense gets pretty much unstoppable when he’s going.’
‘It’s hard to beat us when a guy like that gets going, you know, he’s a wonderful guy, he can do some many things on the court, and when his jump shot’s falling, that’s even better for our team,” Kendrick Perkins added. “So, Rajon is a big, big player for this team, and he goes out there and contributes, and that’s what you saw tonight.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Forest for the trees||at 12:54 pm ET|
The standings, like every other statistical number in sports, don’t lie.
And the standings are telling the Celtics that second seed in the East, and guaranteed home court advantage in the second round, are there for the taking in the final six games of the season.
Heading into tonight’s game with Atlanta, the Celtics lead the Magic by a game for second place in the East. Both teams have 19 losses with Boston ahead by two wins, 57-55. So Orlando has two games in hand on Boston but the Celtics have fate in their own hands for the time being.
“It’s human nature and obviously, we want it,” Rivers said at Friday morning’s shootaround. “Don’t get me wrong, I really would like to get the second seed but I don’t worry about it a lot but the bottom line is you’ve just got to play and you’ve got to control your own destiny and whatever happens, happens.”
In other words, don’t expect to see Pierce and Allen playing 45 minutes, or even 40 for that matter, just to get the number one seed.
“We just try to go out there and play the game how it’s supposed to be played,” Davis said. “We can’t worry about what the other teams are doing. We’ve just got to go out there and make sure we do what we need to do to go where we need to go. No matter where we are in the playoffs, we feel like we can compete with anybody and that’s just the way we feel.”
“First is probably out of reach even though Cleveland lost yesterday, we’re still 4 1/2 games out with eight to play,” Rondo added. “We’re not looking ahead to who we’re going to play in the first round but definitely, if we make it to the second round, we want to have home court advantage.”
|Time for TA||at 11:38 am ET|
“Kevin is going to play tonight and that’s April Fools a couple of days late,” Rivers said before quickly qualifying as a joke.
While Garnett is still out, Tony Allen could see his first action since spraining his left thumb in early February. Allen made it to the scorer’s table in the fourth quarter but never entered the game on Wednesday against Charlotte.
“We are going to try and ease Tony in,” Rivers said, indicating that tonight would likely be a chance for Allen to return to action. “It was game situation and Eddie (House) had it going. They stayed small, which is unusual for them. They usually go big and they stayed small. They had (D.J.) Augustine and (Raymond) Felton in a lot together and that allowed us to keep Eddie on the floor, and that was good for us because the way he was shooting we wanted to keep him on the floor.”
“Think about it, we went two overtimes and Paul and Ray still only played 47 and 48 minutes, and that’s with an extra 10 minutes added to it,” Rivers said. “Thank goodness we got them that rest because I don’t know if the overtimes would have worked out.”